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The Crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 and Its Aftermaths Essay


The crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 in 2009 involved certain changes in policies adopted nationwide. The company as well as other airlines revisited their procedures and policies to ensure the safety of flight. The flight from Newark (NJ) to Buffalo (NY) ended in a crash, in which 50 people died (including 45 passengers, four members of the crew and one person on the ground) (Stark and Khan par. 2). It is necessary to note that all the aircraft’s systems were operating properly. More so, the errors the pilot made is regarded as “amateurish” (Garrison par.1). Therefore, the discussion of the accident led to a specific attention paid to policies and company’s adherence to these policies and regulations.

According to the results of the investigation carried out after the crash, the causes of the accident were the crew’s “failure to monitor airspeed”, “failure to adhere to sterile cockpit procedures”, “the captain’s failure to effectively manage the flight”, and the company’s “inadequate procedures” for “management during approaches in icing conditions” (“Loss of Control on Approach, Colgan Air, Inc.” x). One of the causes (which received a lot of attention) was the pilot’s fatigue (Stark and Khan par. 9). Importantly, flight standards director of the FAA noted that he had some concerns about the safety culture in the company (Zremski par. 2). It is possible to assume that the accident was preventable as the FAA officials pointed out particular issues that led to the catastrophe.

The company’s culture played an important role. On the one hand, the crew obtained the necessary training on flight management. It included training on sterile cockpit procedures, and the company’s employees reported that they adhered to these regulations (“Loss of Control on Approach, Colgan Air, Inc.” 45). It is also reported that the issues concerning pilot’s fatigue were addressed in the company’s culture (“Loss of Control on Approach, Colgan Air, Inc.” 48). However, it is also clear that the problem was rather persistent as many pilots had to commute, which contributed to their fatigue. The company also did not have any particular written documents where reasons for fatigue and strategies to prevent it were provided. According to the report, the company’s safety officers were working on such documentation (“Loss of Control on Approach, Colgan Air, Inc.” 49).

The comprehensive investigation revealed major causes of the accident. These were mainly the crew’s errors. The NTSB issued a set of recommendations aimed at prevention of similar catastrophes. It is necessary to add that these recommendations are quite effective and can contribute to the flight safety. For instance, one of the recommendations was to enhance training of the crew aimed at the development of monitoring skills. One of the causes of the accident in question was the pilot’s inability to monitor and cross-check important indicators (for example, speed) (“Safety Recommendations” 6).

It was also noted that alert systems could also be improved as due to the workload or other reasons pilots may fail to respond to the emergency situations timely. This was the case with the Colgan Air Flight 3407. Leadership training should also be a part of the pilots’ development (“Safety Recommendations” 10). It is clear that the pilot of the aircraft failed to take complete control over the situation, and the crew was not conducting properly, which contributed to making additional errors and the crash.

The NTSB also recommends initiating the development of comprehensive guidance concerning sterile cockpit procedures (“Safety Recommendations” 15). Although pilots and officials note that such procedures exist and are mainly followed, it is clear that the wide discussion may improve the situation. Another serious issue to address as seen by the NTSB is fatigue mitigation. It is recommended to implement the Fatigue Risk Management System that can help mitigate fatigue-associated risk. It is possible to assume that these recommendations are appropriate as they address common issues related to flight safety.

It is also important to note that the Public Law 111-216 provides the necessary legislation to increase safety. The law presupposes regular inspections concerning company’s compliance with safety regulations (“Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010” 2362). Such aspects as fatigue, safety management systems and crews’ management skills will be the major focus of these regulations and inspections. This will enable companies to improve their operations and safety.

In conclusion, it is necessary to note that the accident provides many valuable lessons. First, it is clear that the procedures and systems existing are not sufficient to ensure safety. The areas of major concern are adherence to existing procedures (for example, sterile cockpit procedures), pilot leadership, monitoring and cross-checking as well as the crew’s fatigue. Some policies and laws have been implemented to address these issues. It is also clear that training provided is inefficient as the crew do not follow some recommendations due to many reasons (lack of skills and knowledge, fatigue, workload and so on). One of the most important steps to undertake is the introduction of a sophisticated training program for existing airlines employees as well as students. The training should address the most common issues. This will help improve flight safety.

Works Cited

. 2010. Web.

Garrison, Peter. “Aftermath: The Mystery of Clogan 3407.” 2010. Web.

2010. Web.

2010. Web.

Stark, Lisa, and Huma Khan. “Pilot Error to Blame in Deadly Flight Accident Last February.” ABC News 2010. Web.

Zremski, Jerry. “Colgan Warned by FAA About Safety Prior to 3407 Crash.” The Buffalo News 2013. Web.

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"The Crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 and Its Aftermaths." IvyPanda, 10 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/the-crash-of-colgan-air-flight-3407-and-its-aftermaths/.

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IvyPanda. "The Crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 and Its Aftermaths." May 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-crash-of-colgan-air-flight-3407-and-its-aftermaths/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "The Crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 and Its Aftermaths." May 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-crash-of-colgan-air-flight-3407-and-its-aftermaths/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 and Its Aftermaths'. 10 May.

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